Reversing the negative

Environmental problems are not a new phenomenon and many efforts have been done to reverse the negative effects. In the Netherlands there are a number of organizations concerned with conserving and protecting nature, and also government policies pay a lot of attention to environmental issues. Some example of these initiatives are: reestablishing old creeks, water conservation in drought-sensitive areas, special facilities for fish migration and fish-breeding facilities, reestablishing more diverse river shores, and the like.

Creek recovery: Due to extensive canalizations over the past centuries a lot of old creeks have disappeared. By reestablishing creeks, there is also space for the original vegetation, fish, and all sorts of animals to grow in number. These natural water systems provide a more attractive environment for both humans and animals/plants to live in.

Integrated water management: Water management has long been a technical business, but the integrated water management approach includes nature values. The space for the river projects has provided extensive nature areas in the flood plains of the rivers, as these can no longer be used for agriculture. As the water holding capacity of rivers is limited, certain areas are designated as flood areas, or water retention areas; thus not all water in the river is discharged immediately to the sea, but the run-off is somewhat slowed down. This restores the natural dynamics of the river and results in nature areas with periods of flooding and dry periods. This dynamic system usually sustains a high biodiversity.

Fish migration and fish population: Besides making structures for fish to pass by dams and sluices, there is now also more and more attention being paid to reestablish traditional breeding grounds for fish. To enable fish to breed they need high water quality and appropriate creeks and shores.